The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) has warned marketers within its Enugu Zone to comply with an N145 pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) or have their products dispensed to customers free.
Mr. Unyime Akpan of Health, Safety and Environment Department, DPR Enugu Office, gave the warning in Awka when he led an enforcement team to Anambra on Tuesday.
Akpan said the team sealed one filling station for allegedly refusing to revert and enforced the pump price sale of the product in nine other stations on Atani road in Ogbaru and some parts of Idemili North Local Government Areas.
He expressed regret that some marketers had remained defiant, in spite of DPR’s efforts to ensure compliance, noting that the DPR might apply more stringent punishment by dispensing products of defaulting marketers to customers for free.
“Petrol price is controlled; stations are not supposed to sell above N145 per liter and if the cost of getting products suggests they cannot sell at that price, then they should leave out.
“Marketers are the people encouraging the hike; if they are not gaining from it, then they leave out until the system returns to normal.
“We may have to begin to dispense their products free because DPR also has the powers; if this price compliance sale proves ineffective, we may be left with no option than to give out their petrol, so that they can understand how serious we are,” he said.
In a reaction, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) absolved its members of any complicity in the hike of petrol price and blamed it on scarcity.
Chief Ikechukwu Nwankwo, Chairman of IPMAN, Enugu Depot, in charge of Anambra, Ebonyi and Enugu states, urged DPR to stop the clampdown the members as sealing outlets and auctioning the products would not solve the problem.
Nwankwo decried the petrol supply situation in the country and called for a more sustainable measure to normalise it.
He said DPR’s action on IPMAN members, especially those under his zone, amounted to being punished for a problem they did not cause and could not solve.
Nwankwo said that solution to the problem was the massive and sufficient supply of petrol into the system by the NNPC.
The IPMAN chairman said marketers were making efforts to make the product available to customers as complete scarcity would amount to shutting the economy and holding the masses hostage.
“I have spoken with my members here in Anambra, the situation of fuel supply is bad and it is our wish that we begin to get products like the way it used to be before.
“IPMAN is not happy with the way the DPR is harassing us, closing our stations and auctioning our products. It is like they want to push us out of business because we cannot continue to suffer this loss.
“NNPC is not allocating products to us, DPR should go and monitor the marketers that get an allocation from NNPC; how can we buy the product at N190 or N195 and DPR sells them off at N145.
“We make extra effort to get the product at tank depot so that economic activities can go on and we should not be punished for that; we may have to close our stations if they continue to pursue us,” he said.
NAN reports that pump price of petrol has dropped from between N240 and N250 to N200 per liter.